She’s Man’s Best Pointer

EAST NORTHPORT, New York, July 3

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

The idea of man’s best friend as pertaining to canine companions can apply to many facets of a puppy’s natural abilities. Whether it be as simple as rolling over and sitting down or as complex as herding sheep, one thing is certain: dogs can provide an endless supply of friendship and entertainment to all those willing to accept a few slobbery puppy kiss to the face.

But when Kevin and Maureen Joyce, of East Northport, hear the words “man’s best friend,” they might think of a something different.

They might think of man’s best friend as man’s best derby dog, because to the Joyces, that’s what their 2-year-old Pointer, “Hightailing Miss Kate,” is; at least according to Purina PetCare.

“As big as [Kate] runs, she will not get lost because she loves to be with you,” Kevin Joyce said of his pup, whom he’s been training ever since he acquired her when she was 5 months old. “[She’s] a stylish dog and handles kindly.”

Just last week, Kate was awarded the Top Shooting Dog Derby Award for her efforts in a yearlong competition sponsored by Purina.

Along with her handler, Mike Tracy, of Glenville, Penn., Kate was able to rack up 1,066 points in the second annual competition, in which the pup had to participate in over 50 contests – like the New England Shooting Dog Futurity last October.

The sport, which Kate competes in, is one where dogs compete in shooting dog horseback field trials where they are judged on how well they can navigate the terrain of a course to find game, retrieve it, and bring it back to the handler – all the while keeping a cool sense of style.

“Kate is phenomenal to work with,” Tracy said of the Pointer, which “dominated” the award competition according to Purina. “It is very exciting to see her develop into such an outstanding shooting dog.”

Kevin and Maureen Joyce, of East Northport, pose with Hightailing Miss Kate, their 2-year-old Pointer, winner of the ’13-’14 Purina Top Shooting Dog Derby Award in June.
Kevin and Maureen Joyce, of East Northport, pose with Hightailing Miss Kate, their 2-year-old Pointer, winner of the ’13-’14 Purina Top Shooting Dog Derby Award in June.

Kate was given her award at a Purina banquet on June 20 in Kentucky, where the Joyces also received an original oil painting of their pup, courtesy of artist Ross Young. Along with the painting, Kate was greeted with a well-deserved snack for her performances as Purina supplied one year’s worth of its Performance 30/20 Formula for the pup to chow down on.

“[It’s] our honor to sponsor this new Purina Derby Award and pay tribute to [the] winners,” Pat Lamantia, Purina area manager who hosted the banquet, said. “[The award] recognizes the finest dogs and handlers.”

So while Kate is now one of the “finest” pups around, it’s unlikely she’ll forget about her best friends here in East Northport.

Originally published: Long Islander News: The Record (Thursday, July 3, 2014;  A3)

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